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So, You Want To Move To Maui?

Opinions & Pointers, Useful Links

Here you'll find a few personal opinions for the potential mainland transplant to Maui, mostly regarding where to live. In 2012, I moved off island to Australia, then the UK, so some of the specific information will be getting a bit stale.

(Updated Mar, 2013)

  1. General Observations
  2. Schools
  3. Real Estate
  4. Neighborhoods
  5. Caveat Emptor
  6. Work & Business

IN GENERAL:

First, you need to either be financially independent or have a job lined up before you get here. Maybe not if you're 20 and just want to kick around for a couple of years. But, if you've got a family, you'd best know where your money is coming from. You can move to Florida or Arizona with the idea of looking for work when you get there, but it's bad idea here. You'll likely go broke, really broke, and still have to scrape up coin to drag yourself back to the mainland. Many of the homeless haoles around here have the same story: came to the island for an adventure in paradise, zero preparation.

Next, you need to be flexible, willing to fit in with the local way of doing things, and know when to keep a type-A personality in check. Plenty of bumper stickers remind you that "I don't give a shit how you did it on the mainland." Over time, as people get to know you, you'll get chances to bring your own style into play.

Give yourself time to settle in. My advice is that once you've made the effort to move, wait at least a solid year before allowing yourself to think about pulling up stakes. Hawaii in general and the Neighbor Islands in particular are a place and culture unlike anything on the mainland, and you are going to need time to adjust. But you're not going to adjust by sitting at home after work. My experience has been that some recent arrivals who have settled into gated communities such as Wailea are particularly susceptable to this. Join clubs, get involved in group sporting activities, volunteer for charities or the PTA, and get your kids into extra-curricular activities. The beauty of Maui brings you, the friends you make will keep you. On the flip side, even Maui illustrates the saying that wherever you go, there you are.
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SCHOOLS:

I've now gained enough experience to discuss this half intelligently. Maui has a high ratio of private/home schooled to publically educated children, driven by a combination of perception and reality of less than stellar public performance, and that a greater than average ratio of the parents drawn to relocate here are fruit loops. State Law requires all students to meet medical examination and immunization requirements before they may attend any public or private school in Hawaii, so if inoculating your kids isn't your bag, you'll be home schooling. Hawaii 'enjoys' a direct injection of all sorts of illnesses from the Asia petri dish, hence the State takes an especially dim view of parents who play the odds.

If you've heard any rumors about schools in Hawaii, you've probably heard about "Kill A Haole Day". Forget about it. Over nearly thirteen years, the worst school yard joshing my blond son has heard is "I grew, you flew". KAHD and other insults to haoles were a big part of the '70s resurgence of Hawaiian culture and general non-haole ethnic assertiveness. I suspect that any current KAHD stories are a product of the enormous, transitory military population on Oahu. That said, an out-of-state kid transfering directly into high school has a major culture shock ahead of her, even at Seabury Hall or St. Anthony's. A transplated kid of any age who goes beyond self-assertiveness into "you guys would be in grass huts without us" is going to have a very hard time of it.

At the Elementary level, just about any school is good, with the exception of Hana, Kahului, and Paia Elementary Schools, each of which falls short of their NCLB goals more often than not, resulting in "state takeovers" and outside consultants for the school year, but no additional funds. Yeah, that works. As an example of just how that works, for the '06-'07 school year, Hana High and Elementary were down to a four day week. The lost days are for weekly staff training, led by the consultants. Kahului El's main issue is that a majority of the kids are ESL students. For better or for worse, Hawaii opted to administer a tougher series of stadardized tests by which to measure it's NCLB benchmarks, so things may not be as bad as some may think. For 2008, the test results dropped, as the State raised the proficiency targets.

In Kihei, your best bet is probably with Kihei School, which has a strong program to allow you to track your child's progress. Kamali'i School, which had been the preferred school and has a beautiful campus, had been resting on its laurels for a few years. They got a new principal for the '08-12 school years, and it's my understanding that she really screwed the pooch... (ie. her management style caused considerable staff disruption). For 2012 they've got a newer principal, so with any luck parents south of the Welakahao Road (Hope Chapel) district line aren't still driven to seek geographic exemptions to move their child to Kihei School, or go private.

Those schools aside, what really makes the difference isn't which school, it's your skill at getting your child matched with a good instructor, and the help you provide after school. Who are the good instructors? Join your PTA and/or volunteer at the school, worthwhile endeavors in their own right, as well as the prime source for gossip/info. Once you'll gotten the good word, gently inquire with the placement counselor about getting your kid into Ms/Mr. X's class. This will be an excellent opportunity to practice keeping your inner asshole at bay. If a DOE employee either slips or intentionally lets it spill that so-and-so can't teach their way out of a paper bag (believe me, the staff knows, but it's career-limiting to tell you), use that information, but don't out your source, Bernstein. Otherwise, you'll quickly discover the downside of two degrees of separation from anyone on the island.

Private alternatives include Montessoris in (at least) Kihei and Makawao [about Montesorri methodology], Emmanuel Lutheran School, Carden Academy in Pukalani, and Maui Preparatory Academy in Napili, as well as Haleakala Waldorf in Kula [about Waldorf methodology].

Middle school is decision time for most parents: public/private/home? My own feeling is that the middle three years can easily turn into a disaster zone no matter what the setting, so throw everything you have at it, whether that be time, money, or skill. Above all, pay attention. All of the intermediate schools on the island of Maui are currently meeting their NCLB goals. However, one school that sucked eggs based on the State's 2005 survey is Lokelani Middle School in Kihei. At the time, there was no PTA, high staff turnover, and too many kids per class. But, that's almost a decade in the past, so who knows? We elected to spend $16K for three years at St. Anthony's, instead. For the most part, this seemed to work for us. However, during my son's time in 8th grade, I was less than impressed by lax discipline, unsupervised on-campus suspensions, and a math instructor who wasn't trained (and several other parents agreed, not competent) to teach Pre-Algebra. YMMV.

Private middle school can run to over $15,000 at Seabury Hall above Makawao or Maui Preparatory Academy in Napili, $9700 at Carden Academy, and about half that at St. Anthony's or Emmanuel Lutheran School in Wailuku. If you can document some Polynesian Hawaiian ancestry or catch the administrators on a slack year, the Kamehameha Schools campus next to Pukalani is excellent, but if you're new in the state and haven't spent at least a year or two in preparation, good luck. For your other options, I'm going to punt and point you to schooltree.org, which has an exhaustive list of Maui County schools.

Home schoolers needing enrichment opportunities should contact Hui Malama Learning Center at 808.249.0111. They have programs in Wailuku, Kihei, and Upcountry.

At the High School level, each area of the island has it's own public high school but Kihei which, except for a few kids at an embrionic charter school, buses 1000 kids elsewhere. I'm afraid I don't know much about Lahainaluna, King Kekaulike, or Hana High Schools, because almost all of my son's friends in Kihei go to Maui High School in Kahului, or (on a geographic exemption) Balwin High in Wailuku. Both Maui and Baldwin have advanced placement programs. Kids with an inclination for auto/metal/wood shop favor Maui, while the theater and JROTC types aim for Baldwin.

The state Department Of Education has only recently realized that Kihei isn't just vacation condos, and has a placeholder in the budget for a campus. However, I've spoken personally to the Vice Chair of Education in the state assembly, and been told that no plan will gell until there is a major grassroots push to force the issue. The charter school organizers attempted to fill this role, but (in my opinion) got side tracked once they got their initial store front operation going. The effort received a new push from the Kihei Community Association and the Kamalii Elementary PTA. As a result, for the 2006 fiscal year, about $700K was budgeted for design work, and land acquired in 2012. But, as you'll note on the Friends of Kihei High School history page, there's still no money budgeted to so much as clear the lot.

The private college prep alternatives are as for middle school: Seabury, St. Anthony's, Kamehameha, Maui Prep, and Ka'ahumanu Hou Christian (C'mon, Ka'ahumanu, get on the web fo real).

High school level home schoolers can participate in a 'virtual academy' on-line with Kihei Public Charter School.

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REAL ESTATE:

Median price of single-family home as of 03/2013: $400,000. Typically, this may buy you 1600 sqft of living space on a 6000 sqft lot. The local market had been in the midst of a speculation-driven bubble. By mid 2006, with the exception of the high end (>$2mil), both home and condo prices hit their peak ($630k median), and began the long fall until leveling out in 2011.

While gas and lettuce cost a lot, it's the rent or mortgage that will really catch your attention. Land use and ownership patterns over the last hundred years has kept land for homes in short supply. While land is being taken out of agriculture and rezoned residential, demand remains much higher than supply. There are ongoing battles over water ownership and land use. Some large landowners are attempting to steer publically financed highways near agricultural preserves that are soon due either for either renewal of their tax shelter or rezoning. Until/if these issues are sorted out, I don't foresee a significant jump in new construction. Real estate speculation and second/third/vacation home buying is rampant.

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NEIGHBORHOODS:
In general, neighborhoods are going to tend to look more dishevaled than what you're probably used to on the mainland. They are also probably much safer. Nobody snatches kids here. Generally, you're going to be shopping by how a home and it's street looks. Don't get into the habit of lifting your nose at whole neighborhoods, or you'll soon find yourself back at the airport.

There's no town on Maui that I'd completely rule out. I think your criteria for what's acceptable is a function of how long you've been on island. Initially, you may be struck by the small lots, small homes, indifferent build quality, and the hodge-podge look of most neighborhoods. After a year or two, you'll either adjust your expectations, or leave. Just ask my wife (who loved it for 13 years!).

Ever since the plantation company towns closed up in the early '60's, there's been little of the sort of redlining you see so much of on the mainland. So, every town and nearly every neighborhood will be ethnically mixed. The quality of the homes can be pretty mixed, too. It's not out of the ordinary for two or three homes in any neighborhood to be 50 to 100% above the price bracket of the rest, or for one to be exceptionally run-down. Please, buy that house at 224 Mxxxxx Cxxxxx and fix it up! ;-)

There are a few traditional tract home developments with new units for sale, by far the largest being
Kehalani in Wailuku and Maui Lani in Kahului.

West Side: If you have high school age kids, and can't swing the $18k/year fee at Maui Prep in Napili, pass on the west side (Lahaina, Honokawai, Napili, Kapalua). Lahainaluna High School is over 170 years old, and dying for facilities improvements. I'm not holding my breath. Do drive up to it through... million dollar view. Your alternatives are to send the kids to Seabury Hall, Maui High, Baldwin, etc, but it'll be an hour to hour and a half each way.

Only recently have homes started crawling up the slopes, so most people are REALLY packed in along the coast, even by Maui standards. Driving north on the highway, there's no break between neighborhoods once you hit Lahaina. It's almost impossible to get away from visitors. Chances are better than even that more than one of your immediate neighbors is a vacation rental. This isn't necessarily the case in old Lahaina, which is very picturesque... it leaves no doubt that you're in Hawaii. Most of the new west-side development is aimed at the high end, particularly Kapalua.

When there's a fatal accident on the "Pali Highway" between the west-side and the rest of Maui, you're going to be stuck on one side or the other for at least 6 hours. The Maui PD is already 'way ahead of you if you think you'll escape the back way via the Kahekili Highway between Kapalua and Wailuku on the north shore. This happens every few months. There's been loose talk about widening the Pali Highway or paving Kahekili for years, but it's a fantasy. If a realtor seriously tries to tell you a fix is in the works, they're either an idiot and/or a liar, fine traits in someone guiding you to your next home.

Maalaea: Pass on this: the area is almost all vacation rentals, snowbirds, or retirees. The trade winds REALLY howl through here, by far the windiest spot on the island. Income opportunity, though.

Waikapu: Consider: A small town situated at the foot of the West Maui mountains, on the highway between Maalaea and Wailuku. The older half is mostly long time residents, while the new tract on the north side of town is a mix. Many homes enjoy views of Haleakala, Kahului habor, and Maalaea Bay. In about a year, the Kehalani developments will have merged old Waikapu with Wailuku.

Kahului, older: The older single-family neighborhoods were built in the early 60's by the sugar mill for workers that wanted to buy their own place, hence still sometimes known as "Dream City." Most are slump-block walls, so no termite worries. Maui High, middle school, and elementary are right in the middle. Many of the homes have since seen considerable upgrading as the kids have grown up, gotten good jobs, and in the Polynesian fashion, stayed home. Virtually all of your neighbors will be long time residents, with deep roots on the island. You'll be welcomed, if you put in the effort to be neighborly. Your call. Like my dad, the former Marine likes to say: "Non-swimmers to the deep end!" ;-)

Kahului condos: Absolutely pass on any condos in Kahului, since they'll either be public assistance, college student-heavy, or right on the shore of an industrial harbor. Even as investment property, they blow.

Kahului, newer: Strongly consider. The hot new neighborhood in Kahului is Maui Lani, with middle-class to upper-middle class homes. One of the few "planned" developments outside of the resort areas. Imagine a better new development in the western mainland US, and plop it down on Maui. We very nearly bought there. Several of my coworkers have moved in, and they love it. The gated part of it is "The Island", and fronts a new golf course. I'm not partial to gates, but I know they're all the rage on the mainland. Very convenient to shopping and schools.

Wailuku: Consider: Physically looks down on and abuts Kahului. The homes are wood, and get more rain (love those micro-climates!) so the pre-sale termite report becomes important, and you'll need to tent your house every few years for safety. Wailuku is for the most part very picturesque, with older but well kept homes. The smaller homes are downhill from the big County government buildings, the larger ones uphill. I'll generalize by saying the larger homes are favored by the island old money. There are new condos at Iao Parkside. From Kahului, you'll notice some neighborhoods 'way up the hillside and to the left, which is Wailuku Heights. Doctors, lawyers, my director... tends towards old island families with somewhat newer money, and transplants that love the view, convenience, and cooler weather. If our income went up 50-100%, we'd be hard pressed to decide between Wailea, Kula, and Wailuku Heights. Right below Wailuku Heights is the Kehalani development, with neat looking new homes in both one and two stories.

Pass: The north side of Wailuku is Happy Valley, mostly poorer folks. It's a bit run down, and the rain doesn't help. It's also getting a bad rap in the letters section of the Maui News, the claim being that the neighborhood has more than it's fair share of ice dealers. If you're short of funds, there are better places to go.

Waiehu, Waihe'e: Consider, if rust isn't a concern: North of Happy Valley is Waiehu, twenty year old and newer homes with ocean views, where my office mate lives. The only problem there is that the driven salt air corrodes everything in sight. If you must have a solid ocean view, but don't want to drive halfway up a mountain, this will be the most "affordable". Heading north/northwest up the coast from Waiehu is Waihe'e, a small town of mostly long time residents. The school is very popular, the climate very tropical. The homes tend to be older, so trod carefully.

Beyond Waihe'e are a few rural homes, a Boy Scout camp, and Maluhia Estates. The estates are all high end custom homes. For a while, the developer was advertising it as "the Big Sur of Maui". It may have provided a visual cue to the target market back in the Bay Area, but it still rubbed me as one of the stupidest things I've ever heard.

After Maluhia are a few more custom homes and the largely Hawaiian village of Kahakuloa. From there on, it's ranch land and a narrow road until the Kapalua resorts.

Sprecklesville is on the north shore east of the airport, and when you fly out, it seems you're right on top of them. High end, and although the homes are very nice, I can't figure out *what* they are doing there. I think they must have gotten started before the Jet Age really made itself heard. Anything for an ocean frontage, I guess.

Paia: Pass: East of Sprecklesville is Paia, what's left of a plantation town. Hippy haven of the sixties and seventies (...eighties, nineties, millennium). Interesting place to visit, but I wouldn't live there. If you would, you'll already know.

Kuau: Immediately after (and now abutting) Paia on the coast to the east is Kuau. Let's say everything east of the Buddhist cemetery. Mostly beachfront homes, with one or two small new tracts on the mauka (landward) side of Hana Highway. Home of Mama's Fish House and Ho'okipa Beach Park. Surfers need hear no more.

Haiku: consider: After Ho'okipa, middle to high end, rainfall ranges from "well watered" to "rain forest" as you move east, and as a whole tends towards larger lots. If you keep horses, this is one of your better bets.

Makawao: consider: this old cowboy town has lots of charm. The neighborhoods are of mixed home quality, the west side of town probably a bit newer and more neatly laid out, but you'll have to drive a lot of side streets to find it. Up Baldwin Avenue from Makawao is...

Olinda: Very Nice! You're getting up into old ranch land, from 2000' next to Makawao up to 5500', so it can get cold in the winter. Forested. Not cheap. If you've heard of Seabury Hall prep school, here it is.

Pukalani: consider: right next to Makawao, the housing of more even quality. Several new and newer neighborhoods. A couple of real supermarkets. Pukalani Superette will be moving into a newer building soon... way to go, Aric! Nice temperate climate. Right next to a new high school, King Kekaulike.

Kula: consider. Starts at Pukalani, and wraps around the mountain to the south at the 3000' to 4000' foot level. Very hard to find a lot without a stupendous view, although not always from the house itself. Ok, Kula is really our dream place to live. The only reason we're not there now is that I'm lazy: 50 minute average commute to work in Kihei. I live on an island for this? Realtors will tell you that a new highway will soon cut the drive time, but for 20 years it's been all talk. Many maps still show a road from Makena on the coast up to Kula, but the Ulapalakua Ranch will beg to differ, having padlocked the gates on the jeep trail years ago.

Oprah Winfrey's Hawaii home featured in the 2006 Summer: O at Home magazine is south of Kula in Keokea, between the Kula State Hospital and Tedeschi Winery on the former Thompson Ranch. The Keokea ahupua'a runs from the Haleakala ridgeline down to the coast, including both the ranch and my place in Kihei, in a very weak sense putting us in the same neighborhood. Oddly enough, I used to work with a member of the Thompson clan back in my CA/AZ aerospace days with Hughes Aircraft. "Tommy" had nothing but good things to say about growing up on the island, and attending the former Moanalua Business College in Makawao before running off to become an engineer.

Keanae, Hana, Kipahulu: Get real: these towns on the Hana Highway are beautiful, but unless you don't have to work and/or really like being *isolated*, these are better to visit. When residents want an on-island vacation to get away, this is where we go. Oprah and some other mainland heavy-hitters hui'ed up to buy major chunks of the Hana Ranch a couple of years back. Long time residents strongly suspect that the new 8 inch water lines laid under roads fronting what's currently pasture is intended to service major development on the ranch. Actually, the lines were leaking to the point where they needed to be replaced, and the current State fire protection standard calls for 8 inch pipe. Nevertheless, those of us on the water board realized that this kind of thing encourages suburban sprawl.

Kihei: Consider: Very mixed home quality, tending to get newer as you move south. A detached home on the beach starts at seven figures, and elsewhere in town expect a 20% to 50% premium for a solid ocean view.

In general, Kihei is arranged with condos near the beach, single-family homes inland, with a few exceptions. Beachfront condos are very visitor-heavy. From 2002 to 2010, a number of new tract-homes went in at various points along Piilani Highway. Convenient to schools, shopping, terrific beaches.

At the south end of Kihei, heading up the mountain from the highway is Maui Meadows, a custom home development going back 40 years. Some bare lots still available. Cheaper down near the highway, fab views up the hill.

Absolutely avoid buying or renting on Namauu Street. A few slumlord landlords have let the place go completely to pot, and it gets what passes for a lot of police attention.

Wailea, Makena: Rich and Richer... how much would you like to pay? Wailea is master planned, so you'll have to pay a large HOA fee. Condos from $800K, homes from $1000K. From many places you can hear music wafting in from the Outrigger Hotel's nightly luau performance... such a bummer, I know ;-). Makena is basically rural, but for a string of homes along the coast which start in the low seven figures. Back To Top

CAVEAT EMPTOR:

Beach Access: It's The Law In Hawaii, all beaches, rocks, reefs or other features on the shoreline are open for public use. An exception are some coastal areas on military installations and facilities. This means anyone can, and occasionally will walk by the ocean frontage of your beachfront home. Unlike California, even wealthy neighborhoods have beach access routes, usually with parking and nearby public restrooms. Fishing along the coast is ubiquitous. Don't even think about trying to kick fishermen off of "your" frontage, because the cops aren't going to be on your side.

Cane Smoke: All that sugar cane you saw when you flew in is burned in the morning before harvesting, each field going up in smoke every three years. Depending on the wind, Maalaea, Kihei, and Wailea residents can expect to be hit with cane fire smoke and ash about 5 times a year. You have been warned. Therefore, don't waste your time writing nasty letters to the Maui News about class action lawsuits and the EPA. Either get a lawyer, or keep it to yourself. The only thing that marks an ugly mainland transplant more than bitching about cane smoke is leaning on the horn in traffic. Consider the fact that for the other 360 days of the year, you're enjoying some of the cleanest air on the planet... well, that was true for my first nine years on the island. In 2008, Kilauea's Halemaumau crater restarted, and has been emitting copius amounts of sulfur dioxide ever since. When the Kona winds blow from the south, Maui's air becomes a throwback to a '70's Los Angeles smog alert. In those situations, if your sinuses start to pound, I've found Claritin to work wonders.

Fireworks: If you're looking for quiet on the 4th of July and New Years, the only place you can escape the "shock & awe" of LOTS of fireworks and quite legal firecrackers are in the anal retentive extreme high end gated neighborhoods. But, even there you'll hear the roar. The County started issuing $25 permits in '01, each good for 5000 firecrackers, so some of the bang has gone out of the fun.

"Ohanas"/Sublets: Something to note in a lot of neighborhoods anywhere on the island is the "ohana" situation. I mentioned add-ons in Kahului for family members. In Kihei, it's usually for sublets, which subverts the intent of the zoning, and warps the home prices. A nice looking neighborhood of two story homes will often turn out to be homeowner upstairs, and renters in completely separate ground floor units. Or, a cottage added on the lot, or the garage converted. Or, all three. Realtors will tell you the rental potential allows more people to qualify for a home. I say it allows the seller to price higher, and the lenders to play along. This leaves you with a huge mortgage, and you may find yourself forced to sublet. Many people engage in stealth vacation rentals, which should normally be reported to the county and taxed at a higher rate. This is an on-going battle. The county provides the list of vacation rental permit holders on-line, so your neighbors are just a click away from discovering if you're not paying your way. We made a point of finding a home with no sublet add-ons or conversions. If we wanted to do it later, at least it was our choice.
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Realtors: Everybody's has to make a living, somehow, but Maui is notorious for having one of the highest densities of realtors in the US, about 3.5% of the workforce. There are a high percentage of casual, part-time players. The lack of new properties to sell is often offset by the high rate of turnovers. Nevertheless, it's a feeding frenzy at times, and realtors are a significant source of price inflation due to speculation. Sometimes in colusion with developers, sometimes on their own initiative, they have been very actively flipping new homes after a month or so, adding about $30K to $60K to the price of a standard $600K tract home. The mayor's office took a look at the signup list for a recent Kehalani phase, and found that 70% of the names included accronyms such as "R(S)" and "R(B)"... meaning that not only were sales people and brokers sitting on reservations, they wanted "consideration" (read: a discount) on purchase fees.

My pissing and moaning aside, there are a number of honest, professional salespeople, and I'll mention Rosie and Steve Hogan at ERA Maui Real Estate in Kihei. Without them, I'd probably have thrown in the towel finding a home and be back on the mainland by now.

Water:I was a member of the Maui County Water Board from 2005 to 2010, and became much better educated regarding water issues. Long story short: water is going to become more expensive, there will continue to be water shortages Upcountry, and salt water intrusion into the fresh water aquifers due to overdrawing has been slowed, but will take decades to fully address. Desalinization of brackish water in central Maui may eventually supplement supplies, but sea water is much too expensive to treat.

WORK & BUSINESS:

A Little History... Employment and business opportunities are still deeply influenced by the plantation economy prevelent from the 1800's through the mid-1960's. For most of the 19th and 20th Centuries, a small number of families monopolized land ownership and employment. After overthrowing the monarchy in 1893, these same families organized their new republic's (and in 1898, US Territory's) government, with the result that it too was closely held (ie. very centralized). Veterans returning from the Second World War succeeded in organizing the plantation workers, gradually shifting political power from the plantation owners to union rank and file, and largely taking control of that same centralized government. Only in the last few years has the state GOP begun to shed it's reputation as the party of the big planters.

Job Environment:
- high turnover in private industry creates opportunity for the stable and competent.
- low turnover in large public sector.
- most jobs in visitor industry, followed by government (incl. schools), ag, and small "high tech" nucleus.
- a few high value-added positions pay mainland relocation costs, but not teachers.
- pay is high by national standards, low given cost of living.
- personal networking is particularly valued when job seeking.
- ... so, putting time into volunteer work is often just the ticket.


Business Environment:
- high level of regulation developed around large employers, adversely affecting the subsequent growth of small business.
- retail, office, and industrial space is in short supply, expensive.
- visitor custom is fickle, particularly for small business.
- "big box" retailers almost utterly reshaped local retail in the first decade of the century.
- relatively low unemployment rate, about 5% in late 2012.
- employee health insurance required for those working more than 20hrs/wk.
- local and visitor market will see considerable growth as large landowners convert ag land to residential and commercial uses.

Rumors:
If you're considering starting a business that requires dock or tie down space....

Berthing space at Lahaina and Maalaea Harbors is very difficult and/or expensive to come by. There is a waiting list maintained by the harbor masters' offices, which you can sit on for years without result. In fact, some have found their name moving backward on the list over time. The list is worthless, because unlike most mainland marinas, berthing space is transferable between private parties. To effect a transfer, you usually need to purchase the company that currently holds the berth, including their boat. If the boat isn't wanted, and a ready buyer can't be found in-state, it's not unknown for it to become "lost at sea" beyond the 12 mile limit.

In a similar fashion, obtaining hanger or tie down slots at Kahului Airport is an expensive proposition. Unlike the harbors, there is space available for growth. On the other hand, a number of current and former operators claim that monthly "birthday cards" to one of the administrators had been a cost of doing business. Failure to observe "birthdays" evidently resulted in frequent visits by the airport fd, police, and safety inspectors. If this was true, I'd think the Maui News might have enjoyed the chance to pick up a Pulitzer by helping send the airport mafia to jail as on Oahu. However, it has become obvious that the News is pretty gutless, and seem to rely on a free-wheeling Letters section to air out the island's dirty laundry. There's been a change of the guard at the airport due to retirements. I have no idea if the new boss is any better than the old boss.
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